Study of blood pressure status and body mass index among primary school children
Subhash S Poyekar
Background: Childhood overweight/obesity and hypertension are on the rise and limited data are available regarding the profile of obesity and hypertension from rural parts of India. The present study was conducted with objectives of finding the prevalence of Elevated Blood pressure/hypertension in a representative sample of primary school children and the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) and Elevated Blood pressure/hypertension in study population. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted by the Department of Pediatrics, Medical College from western Maharashtra. Data was collected from one Government run primary and one private primary school children. Anthropometric measurements of school children between ages 6-10 years were taken to calculate BMI. Blood pressure was also measured. Results: Amongst the 388 children, the prevalence of hypertension was 5.67% and that of pre-hypertension was 3.35%. Increasing BMI was associated significantly with increase mean systolic blood pressure (mSBP) and mean diastolic blood pressure (mDBP) in both sexes. Children with higher BMI were associated with higher prevalence of pre-hypertension and hypertension. Conclusion: Prevalence of childhood elevated blood pressure/hypertension, overweight and obesity is on rise even in rural part of India. Possible related factors for this current trend may be due to lack of physical activities, faulty eating habits, and increased salt/fat contents of diet. The result suggests the need for blood pressure check-up for children during school health check-up and having periodic health educational programs to motivate students to adopt healthy lifestyle and food habits.